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Big Data | Corridor Studies | Smart Cities | Traffic | Transportation

Traffic Diagnostics: A Congestion Busting and Travel Demand Management Tool

May 21, 2018

StreetLight Data's new Traffic Diagnostics tool is officially available for public agencies and engineering firms across the continental US. It's a game-changing new feature in StreetLight InSight®, our on-demand platform for turning Big Data from mobile devices into actionable transportation analytics. Watch our latest video blog from StreetLight Data's Laura Schewel to learn how Traffic Diagnostics can help you bust congestion with data-driven travel demand management solutions.

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autonomous vehicles | Big Data | Events | Smart Cities | Traffic | Transportation

StreetLight Data Powers UberFlux for Aerial Urban Transportation

May 11, 2018

At this week’s Uber Elevate Summit in LA, I saw the power of using StreetLight Data’s transportation analytics for a brand-new mobility challenge: Optimizing the roll out of new infrastructure for aerial urban transport. Uber hosted the conference to “explore the exciting future of urban aviation” (read: flying shuttles). While lots of the press focused on the new models of Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing Vehicles (eVTOLs), I know readers of this blog will be even more excited by the use of data-driven planning to design their infrastructure!

What is UberFlux and How Did it Use StreetLight InSight?

At the opening address, and again at a deep dive panel, Uber showed off updates to the UberFlux tool. This tool pulls in data from several sources, including StreetLight InSight, our on-demand platform for turning Big Data into transportation analytics. UberFlux is used, among other things, to find optimal solutions to a complex problem: Where are the best places to site “nodes” for Uber’s upcoming UberAIR program? It is a stellar example of putting Big Data to work to drive transportation forward (should I say “fly” transportation forward?).

Jon Petersen, Head of Data Science at Uber Elevate, said “StreetLight InSight and the StreetLight team play an important part to our modeling efforts and remain wonderful partners for the Elevate team.”

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Blog Feature

Big Data | Smart Cities | Traffic | Transportation

Visualizing Big Data for Transportation: Our Latest Updates

This week, we updated StreetLight InSight®, our on-demand platform for turning Big Data from mobile devices into actionable transportation analytics – just like we do every month. The improvement we’re most excited about for May is our interactive visualization builder. In a nutshell, the interactive visualization tool is a more powerful tool for StreetLight InSight users to analyze transportation behavior within our platform. It’s also a major step forward towards our goal of helping transportation professionals put Big Data to work for planning, modeling and engineering.

Let’s face it: it’s always easier and faster to understand trends with a heatmap or a chart than with a giant spreadsheet. It’s even better when you can dynamically manipulate the data behind those charts and heatmaps to see how behavior changes in different conditions. (But don’t worry, long time users, the spreadsheets are not going away!)

 

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Big Data | Smart Cities | Traffic | Transportation

Commutes Across America – Where are the Longest Trips to Work? Part 2

April 1, 2018

After a long day at work, you probably want to get home as soon as possible. But, on most days, that’s easier said than done.

Today, commutes across America are longer than ever – and they’re increasing. The average American commutes 52 minutes to work each day, for a total of 4 hours and 20 minutes per week. Think of all the productive ways you could be spending that time, rather than sitting in your car or crammed in a crowded subway.

In our last blog about commutes, we explored where some of the longest commutes to work are in America. Now, let’s learn more about why areas have long commutes and how Big Data can be used by transportation planners to help mitigate this problem

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Blog Feature

Big Data | Smart Cities | Traffic | Transportation

Commutes Across America – Where are the Longest Trips to Work? Part 1

March 13, 2018

Are you tired of the long drive to and from work? This is probably the most tiresome, frustrating part of your day. And, you’re not alone. Everyone on the roadway probably feels the same!

To better understand commutes across America, StreetLight Data has compiled a some information on where commutes are the longest. Explore this article to find out why it’s important to understand traveling commutes across America, and find out the top five states and the top five cities with the longest commutes.
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Big Data | Corridor Studies | Software Updates | Traffic

The Congestion Analysis for StreetLight InSight®

February 21, 2018

Note: Since publishing this blog post, we have renamed the Congestion Analysis to "Traffic Diagnostics." 

“Big Data” is becoming buzzier and buzzier, but the adage “data is just a cost until you use it” is an increasingly common refrain. As the CEO of a transportation analytics company, I’m a true believer in the power of data. It frankly makes me sad to see so many groups investing in the idea of Big Data only to feel disappointed when they can’t get any useful information out of it. At StreetLight Data, our top priority is to help the transportation industry “put Big Data to work”.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the latest feature for StreetLight InSight (that’s our on-demand platform for turning mobile device data into actionable transportation analytics.) It’s called the Congestion Analysis, and it’s designed to help you put Big Data to work to solve traffic jams. Lots of tools (including your eyes!) can tell you where traffic jams are occurring. The Congestion Analysis can tell you why the jam occurs, and suggests data-driven ideas for the best long-term solutions.

The Congestion Analysis is very different from every other feature that we’ve introduced to StreetLight InSight because – and this may surprise you – all of the analytics it provides were already available in our platform. The change is how we weave the Metrics together to tell a story, making StreetLight InSight Metrics much easier to use for congestion busting in the real world of transportation planning, modeling, and engineering.
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Big Data | Commercial Trucks | Traffic | Transportation

Are We Ready for Autonomous Vehicles?

November 16, 2017

At this point, it seems clear that autonomous vehicles are on the verge of technical feasibility. Just last week, Waymo announced that it is testing self-driving minivans without a human back-up in the front seat. Its employees will be riding in the back with an emergency stop button – but no steering wheel. But do these technical advances mean that we’re ready for AVs? How should we manage the non-technical aspects of AV deployment to ensure they achieve promised improvements in safety and accessibility?

I decided to write this article to address these issues after participating in the Intelligent Transportation System World Congress earlier this month. There were tons of panels focused on autonomous vehicles, and I was lucky enough to be speak on one that dove into the critical questions for civic leaders and transportation professionals. We went beyond technical readiness to ask ourselves if should we deploy AVs, and, if so, how should we deploy them?

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Blog Feature

Big Data | Traffic | Transportation

4 Ways Big Data Helps Cities Create Better Transportation Plans

November 2, 2017

Getting the data you need to make savvy transportation planning decisions can be a lengthy, expensive process if you’re using surveys, license plate counts, or road sensors. These methods also make it difficult to evaluate the performance of a policy or project after implementation.

For example, when planners rely on old or modeled data to design their project, they don’t have a real-world baseline to evaluate current performance after a project is completed. Most road sensors are removed after a few days, so they must be re-installed to collect more data. Surveys can take months or even years to complete. If planners want to make performance-based improvements as they implement policy or infrastructure changes, they often have to start from scratch with data collection. This could create real flaws if your community has seasonal variation based on weather or school - or if your community has new transportation patterns derived from the rise of ride share or urban population growth, for example.

In today’s world, there are much more efficient, up-to-date, and accurate ways to obtain the information you need.  Nearly 77% of the US population uses a smartphone, and the data they produce is creating new options for transportation planners. In this article, I’ll share four advantages that Big Data has over conventional data sources for transportation planning.

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Blog Feature

Big Data | Traffic

Why Big Data Matters for Traffic Congestion Studies

August 30, 2017

Traffic congestion negatively effects the economy, roads and our quality of life. Some people tend to blame pass-through trips, commercial attractions or employers, but expectations don’t always line up with hard data about what really causes congestion.

In California’s Napa County, for example, it is common to blame traffic on wine-tasting tourists. However, when planners used Big Data to map out travel behavior in traffic congestion studies, they found out that commuters actually contributed as much to congestion as tourists. High housing costs in Napa are a major part of the problem.

It’s not easy to figure out why congestion happens, especially in downtown districts. Learn how to improve the accuracy of your traffic congestion studies by using analytics derived from Big Data.

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Blog Feature

Big Data | Traffic | Transportation

Data-Driven Ideas to Reduce Congestion Misery for Atlanta’s I-85 Drivers

April 13, 2017

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the city of Atlanta, where a fire recently destroyed a portion of the I-85. It’s a major highway that hundreds of thousands of people use every day to access to their jobs, their schools, their groceries, and more. For me, the highway’s closure highlights how vital our transportation networks have become to quality of life in our communities.  Even in a best case scenario, residents of the Atlanta region are likely to spend several months without this vital transportation connection – and the typical Atlanta resident already spends more than 70 hours in traffic each year. What can we, the transportation community, do to limit the negative consequences of unforeseen events like this? It's not a simple problem for anyone to solve, and we know that the folks in Atlanta are working day and night to solve it. In this blog post, I will describe a few data-driven tactics for reducing congestion misery on I-85 in Atlanta. We hope that this analysis will be useful for detour management in Atlanta in the coming months.

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